Tuesday, July 19, 2011


On Thursday the school offered a day trip to Saquisili, a big traditional market south of Quito. It was not very touristy, which made it a really interesting experience. It´s actually a group of 7 different markets - big animals, small animals, food, textiles, other crap, etc. We were smellllllly when we came back!

We sort of just walked around and looked at all the animals and all the people trying to sell them. There were a lot of Quechua (indigenous) people who come down to the markets to buy and sell what they have, and it was fun to see the mix of very traditional with very modern outfits.

We tried some fried tortillas with cheese, and a few people also bought sugar cane and chocolate. I really really wanted to buy a baby duck, or a dog, or a pig, or a rabbit as a pet, but I restrained myself. Impressive, I know. In the textile market, I was debating buying an alpaca poncho because they are soooo soft and it is sooo cold, but I ended up not getting anything. Probably for the best, although I may end up with at least an alpaca blanket before this trip is over.

After walking around the markets and people/animal watching for a few hours, we got back on the bus and went to a nearby town called Latacunga. Apparently this town is famous for its traditional meal called chugchucaras - it is NOT for those of the vegetarian or kosher variety (or the health-conscious). You start with an appetizer of hominy and pork rinds. And then the main dish is pieces of pork, potatoes, popcorn, cheese empanadas, fried plantains, and more pork rinds. It was salty and oily and disgusting and delicious all at the same time. After that lunch, I definitely passed out for the whole bus ride back to Quito.

Jenna and I with our profesor Manuel and our finished chugchucaras

Speaking of delicious:

The weirdest (and best?) thing here - when you order ceviche, it comes with popcorn! You pour the ceviche over the popcorn and eat it like that.

A popular snack here are these huge toasted popcorn kernels. Jenna and I bought some and we're going to practice making them so we can come home and make them for everyone.

We finally went grocery shopping for the first time the other day. We think our roommates think we must be nuts because we have no food and don't cook anything ever, and they cook most of their meals. But at least now we have some breakfast foods, water, and coke zero - the essentials, duh.

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